By Published On: May 26, 2020

In our recent blog post, ABA Banking Industry Response List Review, we reviewed, aggregated and highlighted the more common tactics mentioned in the American Banking Association’s comprehensive list: America’s Banks Are Here to Help: The Industry Responds to the Coronavirus. If you are not familiar with the list, it details what banks in the U.S. are doing for their customers, employees and communities at this time of COVID-19. We thought it would be helpful to reveal some of the less common activities that are being employed as well. Please share any new ideas you find and we will update the list:

  • Using gloves to handle all cash transactions.
  • Amended retirement savings program for employees to allow access to up to $100k penalty-free.
  • Adjusted employee health care benefit to cover all COVID-related costs.
  • Created a Client Care hotline.
  • Hosting financial wellness sessions for consumers and small businesses.
  • Increased debit card spending limits.
  • Increased limits on mobile deposits.
  • Created Online Relief Form for hardship assistance requests.
  • Developed a Physicians Relief Flex Loan to provide funding to area medical professionals.
  • Raised employee compensation for colleagues with on-site roles.
  • Provided a new dependent and elder care stipend for March and April ($400 per month) to help cover unexpected costs
  • Provided its 300+ employees a $500 stipend for goods or resources that will help them transition to working from home.
  • In the event that a medical insurance company delays or denies a COVID-19 related medical claim, the company will cover it.
  • Created PPP Loan Program educational webinars.
  • Partnered with local school districts to provide meals for children who were unable to have food due to school being cancelled, going door-to-door to deliver these meals.
  • Made all employees eligible for all customer financial relief options.
  • Created, a stimulus program for the 18 communities we serve. Our 369 employees were encouraged to promptly spend $148 (reflecting our 148-year history) at locally-owned businesses, then reimbursed by the bank for their purchases.
  • Purchasing and providing lunch to all employees, free of charge, from locally owned restaurants that are closed due to the virus.
  • Purchasing gift certificates from local restaurants that have been affected by COVID-19 to help with their bills and making donations to the local hospital.
  • Matching its retail grocery store customers and restaurants with elderly and immune compromised deposit customers, helping to get basic food and medicine to these individuals while they are confined at home.
  • Leveraging on-campus kitchen to prepare food for a local homeless shelter, and donating 50 computers to schools in the community for virtual learning.
  • Purchasing gift cards from local small businesses to use as give-a-ways for customers.
  • Activated Relief Pay program, and spot bonus rewards as employees voluntarily worked OT and weekends to process PPP loans. CEO kept teams well fed with homemade cookies and desserts. On site associates can order in and expense lunch up to 2x a week from local restaurants.
  • Moved financial literacy and elder abuse programs online; conducting financial literacy classes live virtually across local schools in partnership with the school’s remote learning programs.
  • Made an Employee Relief Fund (ERF) available for colleagues who are experiencing unforeseen financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. With initial seed funding of $200,000, the ERF allows for colleagues to donate contributions and pool their resources to support one another in their time of need.
  • Enabling the majority of associates to work from home and granting associates an extra week of paid time off to be used at their discretion in the calendar year. Opening a day care established on site at an operations/bank support work location to allow critical associates to work while their children are cared for in a safe environment.
  • Developed a Community Emergency Loan Fund to lend up to $5,000,000 to local businesses and non-profit agencies to reduce the economic impact of COVID-19.
  • Introduced virtual mindfulness sessions for employees to help reduce levels of stress and increase clarity.
  • Paying all employees their full salaries whether they can work or not, up to the lesser of 14 days or when school is back in session.
  • Temporarily re-assigning employees, both in back office and customer-facing, to new locations in order to limit their commutes and time spent on mass transit.
  • For existing customers facing unexpected expenses who nonetheless don’t want to dip into savings, offering interest-free loans secured by customers’ deposit balances as well as hardship programs for borrowers.
  • Temporary call center implemented to assist affected customers.
  • Extensively using social media to communicate local and national COVID-19 news while offering financial support, education, and other reputable resources for the community during the pandemic.
  • Rewarding and thanking employees for their tenacity and dedication with gift baskets sent to each office location.
  • Waived two months’ rent (forgiveness, not deferral) for six sole proprietor retail tenants of our building.
  • Key personnel have been separated in the hopes that if one building were to contract virus, operations can still be handled without interruption for customers. All employees are required to wear face masks if they are unable to follow social distancing guidelines with a customer or co-worker.
  • Providing $50 bonus for each day worked, up to $500 each pay period to team members in customer-facing and support roles required to work onsite.
  • Providing daycare assistance to employees with children at home with school closures.
  • Offering temporary relief and expert advice and assistance to help offset the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including access to an interest-free emergency loan of up to $1,000, with no payments due for 90 days and a 12-month repayment period; a community support program where people in financial need can be nominated by family or neighbors to receive one of 10 checks of $250 paid daily between April 6th and May 1st
  • Through its Employee Assistance Program, introduced a range of mental health services and resources to support anyone struggling with the stress and anxiety of the current situation.
  • Instituted a Premium Pay Program providing 30,000 critical front-line employees with a temporary 20% hourly wage increase.
  • Immediately offering small business lines of credit up to $200,000, interest-free for 90 days, to businesses affected by COVID-19.
  • Cashing Economic Impact Payment checks for non-customers in its branches, with no fees charged. In addition, for 30 days it will pause the collection of negative balances existing at the time when EIP payments are deposited, allowing customers to access the full amount of their payment. Both of these decisions are aimed at helping Americans access the EIP funds as quickly as possible.
  • To encourage support for local restaurants hit hard by social distancing measure stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the bank is are offering a 10% cash back bonus when its clients use any of the bank’s credit cards for any purchase directly made to restaurants between now and May 31, 2020. The 10% cash back bonus includes all dining establishments, as well as primary food delivery such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, etc. Gift cards purchased at restaurants also qualify.

About the Author: Fred Driver

ABA Banking Industry Response List Review
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